How to start

I've been reading on several productivity articles that the biggest barrier to being productive is to start. That once you get going, it's very easy to keep doign your task for a considerable amount of time. But that's the problem, most of us don't want or don't know how to start.

To me, the problem then lies in how to start.

I've tried some things in the past to be more productive, like using a tool to track every little thing I do in the day, but I've found this process somewhat annoying. I like the idea that if you know your keeping track of what your doing, you're much more likely to want to do a great job, but for some reason it didn't work out for me then.

I also like the concept of the Pomodoro technique, which involves doing your work in specific chunks of time and resting in between. I have not tried this, but I intend to, and I have a feeling that it's a good way to go about it.

But the problem is still there. I can keep collecting tools and techniques to enhance my productivity, and to keep me away from distractions, but if I simply can't find the way to start doing what I have to do, all of that will just be more time wasted.

I think the solution is much simpler, it's got to be.

A simpler solution

Like with many things in life, we tend to make a big deal out of the smallest of things, to drown in a glass of water, and I've come to realise that a simple solution is often the best solution for my particular use case. An example of this is that I'm much more comfortable using vim instead of a full fledged IDE. Another one is that I'm using Evernote to keep myself organized, which is much simpler than a few other tools I've tried.

As for my organization methodology, a few months ago I got to read Getting Things Done by David Allen, and put it in practice. It has proven effective so far, to say the least. I had read about GTD a while back, but I thought it was just another convoluted system and didn't want to get into it. But then I started reading the book, and it got me hooked right from the start. I really hadn't given so much as a look to any description of GTD, but from the very begining of the book, David gives a general view of the whole system, and immediatly it makes sense to me. No required tools or hardware in particular, I could just use pen and paper. No specially restrictive rules, just guidelines as to how you can keep your information organized so that it can be the most useful to you. And it helps you keep track of your work, as well as your life. This was very compelling to me.

So I started using GTD with Springpad, which I could also sync to my android phone, and eventually ended up using Evernote. It has been a great relieve to know that I'm doing what I actually want to be doing. I don't think I will be using Evernote forever, but right now it suits me, and that's the beauty of GTD, you can use it with whatever tool you want to. In fact, the process of switching from one tool to another is somewhat compliant with GTD, because in doing so, you're effectively reviewing your whole system (hopefully, unless there's an import/export feature between the tools).

In search of a method

I'm still in the search of a methodic way to the mere act of getting started doing what I have to do, but instead of having a whole array of productivity tools and techniques, I just have a simple tool and a simple system that keeps me going.

If I'm having trouble starting something, be it a lack of motivation, or uncertainty of what the task implies, I just resort to my system and from there I can try another active task, or review and split the current task into a simpler set of tasks. I guess this could be what starting is all about.